Deer Lake

fishing boys


  • To protect the unique fishery that is within Deer Lake, the Michigan DNR has designated the lake as a catch & release site only.
    Check the 
    DNR Fishing Guide for the rules and regulations in place at the lake. Learn the art of catch & release fishing.

  • Because Deer Lake is a catch & release fishery, it is a good place to enjoy a day catching fish and enjoying nature without the pressure of having to bring home a trophy fish. With catch & release, you get to make up a really good story about the one you let get away and people believe you! You will find excellent walleye and northern pike fishing in Deer Lake.

  • Deer Lake is also a great place for beginners to get a feel for fishing. This lake is designated as a Family Friendly Fishing Waters location by the DNR. The lake not only has a modern boat launch, but also an outhouse for when nature really calls.
  • If you want to catch fish to keep and eat, there are lot of other lakes and rivers nearby where you can do just that. MDCH is working on a map with fish locations and consumption guidelines that will be completed soon. In the meantime, you can search the Michigan Recreational Boating Information System for boating access sites, which often have shore fishing locations nearby.

New ESF Guide Cover Don't forget to check the Eat Safe Fish Guide before you head out. Even though you're in the middle of some of Michigan's most gorgeous wilderness, chemicals can still be found in some of the fish. The problem is, you can't see or taste these chemicals. The only way to know if there are chemicals in the fish filets is by testing them in a lab.
  • The Eat Safe Fish Guide lists the fish that have been tested and how much is safe to eat. Many lakes and rivers in Marquette County have had fish filets tested and are included in the booklet. (Learn how the Eat Safe Fish Guide is made.)

  • You can use the Statewide Safe Fish Guidelines to choose safer fish to eat from lakes and rivers that aren't listed Eat Safe Fish Guide. You can also use these guidelines when certain fish species aren't listed for a lake or river that IS in the Michigan Fish Advisory.



Deer Lake: Area of Concern (AOC)


In the 1980s, the United States and Canadian governments identified 43 places in the Great Lakes region that had severe, long-term environmental problems. These places are called Areas of Concern (or AOCs). People in federal, state, and provincial government environmental remediation programs are working to address the problems in these areas. Funding and expert guidance are provided to AOCs to help local groups, known as Public Advisory Councils (PACs), work on these environmental problems, as well.


Deer Lake is one of the fourteen AOCs located in Michigan. A lot of people are working to clean up Deer Lake and get rid of the problems (called Beneficial Use Impairments or BUIs). Over the years, several BUIs have been removed from Michigan's AOCs as citizens, industries, and government joined together to improve our state's environmental health. In fact, after decades of hard work, some Michigan AOCs only have one or two BUIs remaining and are getting closer to being delisted.

For more information about Areas of Concern and the Beneficial Use Impairments, 


Mercury was the biggest problem in Deer Lake. Over the past few years, a lot of work has been done in the area to reduce the amount of mercury going into the lake. The Partridge Creek Diversion was a big part of this effort.


To learn even more about the Area of Concern and things you can do to help Deer Lake, please visit:



 boys fishing 

To learn about choosing and eating safe fish from other areas of the state,
please visit